This week is always a difficult time for me as I have lost a couple of good friends and several acquaintances to violence against Trans and Gay people. The violence isn’t always exclusively directed at them from another person or persons, but it also comes from themselves. The area I live in is not nearly as big as Dallas, Houston or Los Angeles, but we have the same problems within our community.
Depression because of abandonment by loved ones and friends once our secret is out, physical and sexual assault were all fairly common here back in the 70’s and 80’s. No one was actually murdered here for our lifestyle or sexuality, but there were a large number of attempted and successful suicide. That was the biggest cause of loss to us here in the Texas panhandle.
Several of us have ‘stuck it out’ though and stood our ground, even when events got the better of us. I experienced physical assault on two occasions, and was sexually assaulted twice also. These were separated by a few years between each incident, enough to have begun to let my guard down and be careless. Both of my closest sisters here were both also ‘bashed’ pretty hard on different occasions.
It is a good thing that we have observances like this one, the problem is getting the younger girls, and the rest of the LGBTQ+ community to be aware of what is here for them. If you were to ask most of our sisters last year at the club what week it was, most would have no clue, even with the posters and flyers up in the area and with the gender counselors.
The options for counseling have also improved immeasurably since the late 90’s, along with the sponsored group meetings, and we even have a working agreement with one of the local cab companies for rescue rides if a girl needs to get home and has no ride (which often happens, it seems).
Sunday in Amarillo will be sad again this year though, as we remember the girls that are not with us any longer. I do think we are doing better, not just locally, but also nationally to make things better for the girls just starting out to find who they are and grow in their lives. Hopefully the change will continue every year, though most of us know that we will never be 100% accepted, but all the ‘normies’ have started to realize that we are here, we are part of ‘their’ society, and we are staying.